5 Star Liverpool Back On Track

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The dominate performance we saw from Liverpool on Saturday afternoon against Brighton was one of the most impressive of the season so far, so impressive that I couldn’t pick out one aspects of the game to write about. So this week I’ve decided to look at the game as a whole and discuss what made this performance stand out from any other this season. I really think that Saturday afternoon was a watershed moment for Liverpool this season as there were so many things that impressed me I really don’t know where to begin. I’ve heard people say in the last few days “it was only Brighton there is no need to get excited”, but believe me there was plenty of reasons for Reds fans to be upbeat after the final whistle. Liverpool were brilliant and to be honest I don’t think they got the credit from the media that they deserved after that performance, I can guarantee you had that been Manchester City the media would’ve been waxing lyrical about the way they destroyed the opposition but because it was “only Liverpool” it kind of went under the radar. The thing that really impressed me on Saturday was the formation we played with, Klopp decided to go with three at the back with a combination of Can, Lovren and Wijanldum . Now I am a very optimistic supporter and I always try to look at the positive things in life, that being said when I saw the line-up it even made me question what Klopp was doing. It turned out to be a piece of genius from Liverpool manager as playing three at the back enabled our wing-backs to get further forward and it made a big difference. Brighton are very tight and compact team and they are very hard to break down, by Klopp playing with wing-backs it automatically stretched out that Brighton back line as they were worried about the width Liverpool possessed, in turn this allows the likes of Coutinho, Firmino and Salah more space than they otherwise would’ve not got, that enabled them to do what they do best and terrorise the defence. It was a brave decision from Klopp specially to play two centre midfielders at centre-back, it’s very bold indeed and even though Gini had a little bit of a rocky start he settled into the role very well. Klopp has done this a couple times in the last few weeks, he has change formation certain games to enable us to combat a particular threat that the opposition might pose. Against West Ham a few weeks ago he went 4-4-2 and at the weekend the decision to go three at the back shows how much this Liverpool team is growing, Klopp couldn’t change anything last season mainly because we didn’t have a personal to do it, the philosophy was if plan A doesn’t work try harder as there was no Plan B. Saturday highlighted not only do we have a Plan B but we also have a plan C, D and E and this can only bold well for the future. There was no doubt the two Brazilian stars stole the show on Saturday but before I start to talk about them I want to talk about Trent Alexander-Arnold as I thought we had another solid game, he looked composed, mature and confident and this was evident when he blocked a certain goal from their left-winger in the last 10 minutes. At this point the score was still 3-1 and another goal from Brighton would’ve lead to a nervous end for the Reds. Those of you that watch the game, you will know the tackle I’m on about and I thought that Trent did brilliantly in this passage of play, He showed real coolness and composure not only to stay with his man but to also slide in and block the ball just as they were about to pull the trigger and I remember thinking “what a tackle son”, that was a crucial point in the game and I was really impressed with how composed Trent was able to stay even when he was in his own penalty area. While I’m talking about crucial points in the game I’ve got to mention that save from Mignolet at the start of the second-half which no doubt turned the game in our favour, the score was 2-0 and if that goal goes in again it becomes very nervous around the Liverpool team. Mignolet got criticised last week for letting that goal in against Chelsea but he more than made up for it this week with that save. The fact that we then went up the other end and scored the third within 20 seconds was just the icing on the cake but as for the save itself the only way I can describe it is world class. Right now let’s get to our forwards, Bobby Firmino was absolutely brilliant up front for us, both his goals were amazing but it’s not just that, his general play is so vital to the way Liverpool operates. I honestly think that when we play with Sturridge up there we don’t have the same energy and movements when going forward, Bobby offers something different, something unique that I don’t think any of our other strikers can give us. His work rate is exceptional and you could even argue he works just as hard as Suarez or even Kuyt did when they were at Liverpool, but it’s also his intelligence off the ball that makes him such a threat when we are going forward. Bobby knows exactly what Klopp wants from him, exactly when to do it. he knows when to play on the shoulder of the last defender and when to drop deep and create room for the likes of Salah, Continuo and Mane, he is just so vital to the cause and I honestly think if he were to get injured we would be in serious trouble as I don’t see Sturridge wanting to do half the work that Bobby does. And then there’s Coutinho, who on Saturday showed us why Barcelona was willing to pay big money for him in the summer and why Liverpool told them where to stick their money. The boy was simply world-class, there is no other way to describe it, for a second goal the ball that Coutinho played to Firmino was to die for, it had the correct amount of weight and pace on it that meant it missed all the defenders and curled beautifully into the path of Bobby. The Brighton players could hardly get near Coutinho as old twinkle toes was right on top of his game, I can’t remember how many times I saw him beat his man on Saturday but by the end of it I’m sure Brighton were relieved that they won’t have to face that until the last day of the season because Coutinho was on it. That free kick, wow, he really does have a big pair of balls. I remember watching an interview with Leonardo, the former Brazilian footballer, a few years ago where he was asked about British players becoming world-class, Leonardo said that he didn’t think it would happen because British players lack the arrogance needed to become world-class. The free kick that Coutinho scored on Saturday demonstrates what Leonardo was on about, it takes a certain amount of arrogance to roll the ball under the wall and into the net, it’s not just about confidence, you have to believe that you are the best player on the football pitch and that what Coutinho is beginning to show, the arrogance needed to make you world-class. Before Saturday I wasn’t bothered about whether he left next summer or not but after seeing that I really hope Klopp sits him down and tells him he has the ability to become a real legend at the club rather than another player that will wear the Barcelona shirt. It’s funny to think that I’ve spoken so much about the game on Saturday and I barely mentioned Salah or Mane and I think that is a testament to how much Liverpool have grown as a team. To think that we managed to bag five goals without Mane on the pitch and without Salah getting on the score sheet. I think that’s what impressed me the most about Saturday, it shows us that Liverpool are developing and we are heading in the right direction, we just have to be a bit more patient because I genuinely believe when this Liverpool team get it right we going to be devastating for every team in Europe.   Article by Imraan Adam
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